Sheep and shearing can create many hazards for farm workers. Careful planning of working areas, safe work practices and good training can avoid many mishaps.
Design yards, sheds and races carefully to avoid accidents:
- Ensure smooth stock flow into the sheds to reduce the risk of crushing and collisions with animals.
- Minimise the amount of lifting needed.
- Use non-slip surfaces to avoid falls and slips in yards.
- Make sure safety cut-off switches are installed and working on shearing plant and wool presses.
- Have guards fitted on shearing gear, wool presses and grinders.
- Consider using lift or slide swing gates.
When shearing, keep animals close to your body and when you need to lift them, use your thigh muscles.
Consider using sedatives when shearing prime lamb or cross bred sires – speak to your vet.
Working with sheep can be dangerous. Badly designed shearing sheds and yards present a range of physical, chemical and biological hazards. A safe working environment can minimise the chances of injury and illness. Make sure shearing sheds are well designed, lit and ventilated, agricultural and veterinary chemicals are stored and used appropriately, and machinery is safe and well maintained.
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References used for this topic page
Department of Commerce (WA)
Safety and health in shearing Part 1 and Part 2
Sheep handling and shearing
Safety for Sheep and Wool Producers
Health and safety in shearing [PDF]
Research & reviews:
Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety
Occupational health and safety risks – sheep and wool production in Australia [PDF 2.76mb]
Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership
Woolshed Safety: a practical guide (2016)
Last updated: 6th February, 2019